National Referendums on EU Issues: from Clarification to Frustration

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Series Details No.180 (04.04.17)
Publication Date 04/04/2017
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The recent succession of referendums that led to people saying 'no to Europe' are leading to a radicalisation of political debate over the articulation between national democratic choices and belonging to the European Union. Often this debate leads to a challenge being made to 'denials of democracy' which are said to result when national referendum results are not taken into account; this Policy Paper by Yves Bertoncini, our director, brings claims like this into perspective.

The progressive shift from conciliation to contradiction, then from contradiction to confrontation, should prompt us to highlight which political conditions enable a better juncture between national referendums and European integration, not only to guarantee the smooth functioning of our democracies, but also the European Union’s ability to act effectively and legitimately.

1. National referendums on European issues reflect an often harmonious conciliation
2. Negative referendums on 'indivisible' European issues reflect a structural contradiction between national democracies
3. The referendums of the 'third type' are hopeless tools of confrontation between the EU member states

This Policy Paper is the revised and extended version of an article published in « Le Rapport Schuman sur l’Europe, l’état de l’Union 2017 » (edited by Thierry Chopin and Michel Foucher, published by Lignes de repères, March 2017).

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Related Links
Wikipedia: Referendums related to the European Union
Chatham House: Expert Comment, 02.10.18: FYR Macedonia’s Name Referendum Is Another Public Setback for the EU

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